I am pre-ordering Michael Bird’s Evangelical Theology because it looks really interesting, and because I really think he is on to something. I firmly believe, correct me if I am wrong, all of our systematic theology should begin with God’s ultimate revelation of himself: Jesus Christ. I believe that systematic theology should be Christological. It should begin and end with the person and work of Christ (which are, by the way, inseparable). Christ is the gospel, Christ is the “Evangel.” Having said that I wonder whether Bird’s book will be evangelical in that sense, or whether it will be evangelical in the “gospel-centered” (i.e. a reduction of the gospel to justification by faith + penal substitution) sense.
I have seen several blogs coming from “Gospel-Centered” people claiming that this is a truly gospel centered systematic theology, what I want to know is: “what ‘gospel’ Bird will be using as the lens through which he does theology?”
Note: I have no qualms with “Gospel-Centered” theology, I consider myself “gospel-centered” but I refuse to reduce the gospel to the doctrine of justification by faith or penal substitution, which is what so many people tend to do. Maybe its better to call myself “Person and Work of Christ-Centered.” But then again that doesn’t have a nice ring to it.